Why I "love" and "hate" programming

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I wrote my first computer program in 1999 when I was doing my undergraduate work at Chancellor College, University of Malawi. If you are a programmer, you should know what that program is. Did you say "Hello World"? If yes, give yourself a pat at the back. That is exactly the first program I wrote in dear PASCAL. I still remember vividly how I was unable to distinguish the "semantics" and "syntax" of a computer program but still more, I had the joy of seeing my first program run.

Little did I know that I would take programming as part of my life and career. Six or so years have passed since I wrote my first program and I am glad to say that I have now programmed in almost all "respectable" programming languages (No offence intended). You know good programming languages like ...

I enjoy programming a lot because one can abstractly command a machine to do some task and it does that within a few seconds (Of course if you have a reasonable time complexity for your program). It seems I like working in the abstract rather in the concrete. I suppose that is why I also naturally love Mathematics especially the beautiful topic of Abstract Algebra.

However, the joys of programming come at a cost. If you have done some serious programming, you should know the daunting task of program debugging. I hope you know cases where a misplaced or forgotten semicolon in program code could give a headache! What about cases where a running program is producing incorrect output? Hahaha... a semantically incorrect program? I know many programmers do not take program testing seriously but this is an equally daunting step in programming especially for non-trivial programs.

When a program is misbehaving (either by not running or not running correctly), a programmer will try to find ways to correct the situation. For very difficult programs, I try to take a walk just to refresh my brain while brainstorming on a possible solution. I think that when a program is not running correctly, it is not good to spend the whole night in front of the computer trying to run it. Most importantly, it is better to understand the problem first before trying to do some coding.

Have I said why I "hate" programming? It seems no. Programming is addictive just as surfing the Web, at least for me. And it seems I am addicted to both. I do not imagine life without the Web. Any help for these addictions?


LadyBanana Thursday, October 18, 2007 10:28:00 PM  

I certainly couldn't be a programmer - I'd go mad as soon as there was a problem.

But I am addicted to the web, been using it since 1996 now and it's gotten no better, so sorry can't help with your addiction!

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